Environmental factors are main causes of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). Growing evidence indicates that early life exposure to environmental risks, such as chemicals, radiation and air pollutants, might increase NCD risk throughout the life course . Air pollution alone causes about 6.5 million deaths a year, or one in eight of all deaths. The strongest causal associations are seen between PM2.5 pollution and cardiovascular and pulmonary disease as well as with several highly prevalent non-communicable diseases including diabetes, decreased cognitive function, attention-deficit or hyperactivity disorder and autism in children. Yet, around 2 billion children live in areas that exceed the World Health Organization annual limit of 10 μg/m3. These health burdens related to environmental pollution disproportionately fall on the poor and marginalized communities in low and middle income countries .
There is a need for greater understanding on environmental determinants of NCDs, including but not limited to: climate change (e.g. heat waves increase risks for CVD and stroke), biodiversity loss, environmental pollution (air, water, soil, heavy metals, chemicals) and health; impacts of the urban and built environment on NCDs (e.g. housing, walkability, safe green spaces for physical activity); consumption and production patterns across health and other sectors. Moreover, the compounding effects of multiple environmental stressors (e.g. multiple contaminants through multiple exposure pathways) are poorly understood.
Although there is a growing understanding of the close links between health and environment, the links are not fully understood and integrated solutions are not effectively considered in policies across sectors. Moreover, there is a lack of recommendations grounded in economics that would enable planners to target the interventions that would have the greatest beneficial long-term impacts on health. Improving our understanding of these links can catalyse the public and business to act. Whole-of-government and whole-of-society actions are urgently needed for the control and prevention of NCDs for the well-being of vulnerable populations, such as children and reversing the alarming trend of environmental degradation and climate change.
• To share the latest knowledge on environmental determinants of NCDs
• To share practical experiences and lessons learned on tools for identifying and assessing environmental risks to NCDs
• To share good practices and lessons learned on implementing actions to reduce environmental risks to NCDs
• To discuss multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder strategies, mechanisms and financing needs to tackle environmental determinants of NCDs